The friendship between Will Smith and Chris Rock goes back a long way. Although the unplanned event at the 94th Academy Awards is likely the most recent connection the actors have had in the public’s memory, they have actually been friends for nearly 30 years.
After hearing a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, Smith stormed the 2022 Oscar stage and slapped Chris Rock over the face.
“Don’t f—- around with my wife’s name!” Smith yelled, “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to watch that,” in response to a joke made by Rock. The fight broke out right before the King Richard actor won the award for best actor.
During his Oscars hosting duties in 2016, Rock made a reference to the Smiths, stating, “Like me skipping Rihanna’s underwear, Jada might choose to skip the Oscars. The event didn’t include me.”
Throughout their decades-long partnership, Rock and the Smiths have collaborated on a number of film and television projects. In addition, the two performers have often been spotted in public together, seemingly enjoying each other’s company.
Listen to today’s episode of PEOPLE Every Day’s podcast for more on the Will Smith–Chris Rock altercation at the Oscars.
In this article, we’ll take a look back at Smith and Rock’s friendship, beginning with their days together on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and continuing up to the present day.
On The Fresh Prince Of Bel-air, Starring Alongside Will Smith On September 25, 1995, Is Comedian Chris Rock
On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Rock shared the screen with Smith in not one but two different roles. The episode, titled “Get a Job,” from season 6 premiered on September 25, 1995, and included Rock’s guest appearance as a famous actor named Maurice Perry and his sister Jasmine.
Torrance Rises, Starring Will Smith And Chris Rock, Was Released In 1999
Smith and Rock both made cameo appearances in the 1999 Spike Jonze-directed mockumentary Torrance Rises, which followed the Torrance Community Dance Group (from Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” video) as they attempted to win an MTV Video Music Award.
Both performers portrayed themselves in the film, which also featured a number of other famous people (Madonna, Sofia Coppola, and others).
The two actors had previously been pictured together at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, where they were captured laughing together.
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Chris Rock Hands Will Smith A Kids’ Choice Award On April 2, 2005
The two had a lighthearted exchange during the 2005 Kids’ Choice Awards, with Rock presenting Smith with the award blimp for favorite voice from an animated movie for his role as Oscar in Shark Tale.
In 2010, five years later, Rock and Smith posed for a photo together at the performance, this time with Smith’s son Jaden Smith in tow.
Following his father Will Smith’s Oscar win and Chris Rock’s smack talk, Jaden Smith tweeted, “That’s How We Do It.”
Chris Rock And Jada Pinkett Smith Star In “Madagascar,” Released On May 27, 2005
Smith and the Rock have worked together for many years, and Jada and the Rock have also shared the screen together.
Both actors are well-known for their appearances in the animated feature picture Madagascar, which debuted in 2005 and has since spawned two sequels (2008’s Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted).
During an interview with Fuse, the comedian told Jada that his kids are big fans of her children, and vice versa, as part of the promotion for the third chapter of the hit animation franchise, in which Rock voices Marty the zebra and Jada voices Gloria the hippopotamus.
As in, “Hey, your kids listen to my kids!” It was Rock who told Jada. “Girl of the 21st century? Holy crap. And they’re big fans of LMFAO without knowing the acronym’s meaning.”
Chris Rock’s Oscars Monologue On February 28, 2016, Featured A Reference To Jada Pinkett Smith
The comedian brought up Jada’s absence from the 2016 Oscars event during his hosting duties.
“Despite what Jada stated, she is not coming. In my mind, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Doesn’t she have a TV show?” Is Jada planning to skip the Academy Awards? Like me skipping Rihanna’s underwear, Jada might choose to skip the Oscars. Not me! “The man spoke up and explained.
After his 2022 Oscars win and the Chris Rock controversy, Jordyn Woods has called Will Smith “family.”
Rock also made light of the fact that her husband wasn’t nominated, adding, “Will should have been recognized for this, but it’s not fair. Indeed, you are correct. Will’s $20 million salary for Wild Wild West is likewise not fair, all right? “he explained, bringing up one of Smith’s box office bombs.
Chris Rock Gets Slapped By Will Smith During The 2022 Academy Awards, Which Takes Place On March 27
On March 27, 2022, as the Oscars were about to introduce the nominees for Best Documentary, host Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzz cut, prompting Smith to get up from his seat, attack the stage, and slap the comic in front of millions of viewers.
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Will Smith wasted his award show face slap on Chris Rock and not Jarrod Carmichael? Poor choice. #GoldenGlobes
— Dennis Lokey (@DennisLokey) January 11, 2023
Rock reacted to Will’s return to his seat by saying, “Oh wow,” as if he were shocked. I just got hit in the face by Will Smith.
When Rock answered, “Wow, guy, it was a G.I. Jane joke,” Smith roared from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth!”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a statement after the ceremony in which they condemned Smith’s actions and said they would be conducting “a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”
Will Smith Apologizes To Chris Rock For Slapping Him During The Oscars On July 29, 2022
On July 29, four months after slapping Rock across the face on stage at the Oscars, Will Smith posted a video to YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook in which he apologized to Rock once again and invited him to contact him at any time.
Smith added, “I went out to Chris, and the response I got back was that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will call out.” “So I’ll just say it: I’m sorry to you, Chris. It’s clear that my actions were inappropriate, and I’m here to discuss this with you whenever you’re ready.”
On the third of September, 2022: Chris Rock appears to refer to Will Smith’s videotaped explanation as a “hostage video.”
According to Deadline, Rock reportedly screamed “f—- your hostage video” during a comedy set with Dave Chappelle in London, referring to the recorded apology Smith issued in July.
In addition to referring to the actor as “Suge Smith,” Rock reportedly stated, “that s—- stung,” in reference to Smith’s smack at the 94th Academy Awards.
The comic allegedly added, “He was excellent as [Muhammad] Ali. No one can beat me, not even Floyd Mayweather.”
Will Smith Discusses The Night He Slapped Chris Rock On November 28, 2022
While on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Smith discussed his plan to smack Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards. According to Smith’s words to Trevor Noah, “there’s many layers and complexity to it, you know, but at the end of the day, I just — I lost it.”
It’s impossible to tell what’s going on in people’s heads, the actor continued. The night in question was one in which “I was going through something.”
Not that that excuses my conduct,” he added.
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